Our current to-do list is a mile long—we’ve been in our house just at two weeks, and there are still boxes everywhere. Our boys’ bathroom counter needs installing, the half bath downstairs still holds its old, outdated sink, and don’t get me started about the yard. It’s downright frightening.
But in the midst of hanging shelves and unpacking dishes, this weekend we ditched the bubble wrap for flip flops and sunscreen, and moseyed our way to the lake. Summer’s just a few weeks longer here, and school is starting soon. This weekend, the to-do list was put on the back burner, only for a bit.
Summer is still going strong in most spots of North America, but I’m already seeing Facebook status updates from people who are longing for fall. Football, changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes… all dream-worthy stuff.
But there’s still fun to be had—winters are long up here in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m not wishing away the shorts just yet. And I know many places have had a brutally hot summer in most necks of the wood, so I don’t doubt for a bit that you’re dying for a dip in temperature.
Whether or not your kids have already started school, let’s savor the summer for a few more weeks.
1. Go for a drive to a nearby town.
Crank up the A/C and enjoy a leisurely scenic drive. Make a scavenger hunt list or some bingo cards so that the kids stare outside the window instead of your phone screen. Head to some outskirt town you haven’t been to in awhile, and make an afternoon out of wandering its streets and trying a new restaurant.
In Austin, we’d love going to Gruene (The Gristmill!) or Fredericksburg (German food!). Here in Bend, we love Sisters or Sunriver.
I know this one is stating the obvious. But outdoor swimming isn’t a year-round sport for most places, so take advantage of it, even in triple-digit temps.
I love an Aussie expression for staying sane in the sun—sip, slap, slop. Sip tons of water, slap on a hat, slop on the sunscreen.
3. Stay up later…
If your kids are still out of school, let them stay up late for a wee bit longer. Enjoy a few more family movie nights, or go for a longer-than-normal post-dinner walk. These long-lit nights won’t last forever, and school night bedtimes will call the shots before you know it.
4. …But start heading to bed earlier.
I find it helpful to start gradually getting the kids in bed earlier a few weeks before school starts. This softens the rude awakening come the first day of school, and it keeps the parents sane.
Our kids tend to stay up an hour later in the summer, so I figured if we aim for ten minutes earlier every couple of days for a few weeks, we’ll be back to our school year routine rather painlessly.
5. Backyard camping.
It might be a stretch to make a final camping trip out of town, so make the most of your camping supplies still within reach.
Eat dinner outside, and if you have a backyard fire pit, make s’mores for dessert. Stay up late watching the stars, and then do your best not to sneak back up to your bed in the middle of the night.
(I may or may not have been tempted to do that this summer.)
6. Make t-shirts for the school year.
Spend an afternoon making your own t-shirts—maybe choose one to wear the first day of school. A few of my favorite ideas:
- No dye tie-dye
- Sharpie marker tie-dye
- Stencil with freezer paper
- Bleached spray gun stencil
- Heat transfer vinyl stencil
This is our to-do list for the next month—that, and turn a house into a livable home. In a month, I’ll be ready for those pumpkin spice lattes.
Is it still summer where you are? When does school start for kids in your neck of the woods?
This post is sponsored by Dreyer’s/Edy’s® Slow Churned Light Ice Cream: all the taste of regular ice cream, but with half the fat and 1/3 fewer calories. Now that’s a reason to smile. Give a smile here.